Our Work

Research, teaching, and public engagement are the core components of our work. Representative projects and publications are archived below.




Current and Future Green Roofs in NYC

Green roofs are quickly becoming a source of nature-based solutions in cities around the world to address urban heat, stormwater, need for recreational space, urban agriculture, building energy use reduction, and more.  The USL has an expanding research project to examine the state of current green roofs in New York City, the future potential, and social equity analysis to examine who benefits from green roofs in the city.  The Lab is also collaborating with The Nature Conservancy and Columbia University to produce the most comprehensive assessment of green roofs to date in NYC.  

The future potential of green roofs in the city is another aspect that we are exploring through analysis and data visualization.  See this link to explore the Envisioning a New Urban Jungle project lead by Aucher Serr in the Lab. 

On June 7th, 2018 the USL hosted and co-sponsored with NYC Audubon the first The State of Green Roofs in NYC conference ever as an event of the Green Roof Researchers Alliance which the USL has been part of from its inception.  The Green Roof Ecology undergraduate design and ecology coures is another outgrowth of this research in collaboration with local partners at Brooklyn Grange.  See more about the Green Roof Ecology course at our Twitter and Instagram pages.

Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather

Climate change is widely considered to be one of the greatest challenges to global sustainability, with extreme events being the most immediate way that people experience this phenomenon. Urban areas are particularly vulnerable to these events given their location, high concentration of people, and increasingly complex and interdependent infrastructure. Our lab is examining urban vulnerability and risk reduction to climate driven extreme events including heat, flooding, and storms in New York City in collaboration with the NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resilience and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay.

Additionally, we are co-leading the Urban Resilience to Extreme (UREx) Weather-related events, a five-year, $12 Million, National Science Foundation Sustainability Research Network (SRN) project.   The highly interdisciplinary and geographically dispersed UREx SRN team is developing a diverse suite of new methods and tools to assess how infrastructure can be more resilient, provide ecosystem services, improve social well being, and exploit new technologies in ways that benefit all segments of urban populations.   The UREx team will link SRN scientists, students, local practitioners, planners, industry, NGO’s, and other stakeholders across >25 institutions and >60 collaborators to co-produce data, models, images, stories, and on-the-ground projects that show how a new resilient infrastructure can be developed.  

URExSRN Website     Twitter      NSF award       Press release  

Resilience to Climate Change in Cities

The USL is a member of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), and we have multiple overlapping projects engaging with the UCCRN through Cities IPCC and the Future Earth Urban Knowledge Action Network with research focused on nature-based solutions for increasing climate resilience and adaptation strategies in cities and urban areas. Timon McPhearson is the coordinating lead author for an international team of experts for Chapter 8, Urban Ecosystems and Biodiversity, in the “Second Assessment Report on Climate Change in Cities”, (ARC3-2) a project of the UCCRN, published in Cambridge University Press in 2018.

Seeds of a ‘Good’ Anthropocene 

The project "Seeds of a Good Anthropocene" is a collaboration with the Stockholm Resilience Centre and multiple other organizations in the "Bright Spots - Seeds of a Good Anthropocene," project funded initially by FutureEarth. The objective of this project consists of counterbalancing current dystopic visions of the future that may be inhibiting our ability to move towards a positive future for the Earth and humanity.  This will be done by soliciting, exploring, and developing a suite of alternative, plausible “Good Anthropocenes” – positive visions of futures that are socially and ecologically desirable, just, and sustainable.  See related papers to this project in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability on our Publications page.

Click here for more information

Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES)

The URBES Project, based on case studies of five European cities plus New York, is designed to address significant scientific knowledge gaps on the role of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being to help build cities’ capacity to adapt to climate change. Funded by BiodivERsA through DIVERSITAS with €1 Million for three years, URBES consists of eleven top research institutes in Europe and New York. The project ran from 2012 – 2014, but also resulted in ongoing collaborations especially with colleagues at Stockholm Resilience Center in Stockholm, Dutch Research Institute for Transitions in Rotterdam, and Humboldt University in Berlin.

Click here for more information     SRC coverage    Ambio (Special Issue)       Ecosystem Services (Special Issue)       Ecological Indicators (Special Issue)

Valuing Urban Natural Capital

Urban biodiversity and ecosystems are critical natural capital impacting human health and wellbeing. One project the Urban Systems Lab has been working on steadily with colleagues at the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University and University of Minnesota, Stockholm Resilience Center, and the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economic, part of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, is the development of Urban InVEST, an initiative to design and develop an urban natural capital valuation model. 

More on Natural Capital's Urban InVEST plans


Enabling Blue-Green Infrastructure

USL Director Timon McPhearson is Co-Primary Investigator of the ENABLE Project, and co-leads research activities ecological traits, urban resilience, and the role of green and blue infrastructure for climate change adaptation.  

The ENABLE project brings together a diverse, multi-disciplinary group of partners from North, South, West and Central Europe and North America to investigate how to unlock the full potential of GBI. It will test possible GBI solutions to urban challenges in the metropolitan regions of Halle (Germany), Barcelona, Łódź (Poland), Stockholm and Oslo, and New York City as a US comparison.

Most cities around the world are interlaced with green and blue infrastructure (GBI) and benefit from the wide range of ecosystem services it provides. In an increasingly urbanized world, GBI has the potential to tackle multiple environmental and social challenges, such as human wellbeing, social inequality, biodiversity loss and climate change impacts such as flooding. However, the successful design and implementation of GBI requires careful consideration of a number of key aspects, including people’s perceptions of the benefits of GBI, barriers to the equitable distribution of benefits and strategies for making the flow of benefits resilient.

Click here for more information.

Climate Vulnerability and Equity

The Urban Systems Lab is in the process of creating new cutting edge 3D visualizations combining multiple sources of social, ecological, and technical infrastructure data for the first time at parcel scale resolution to examine equity in risk and vulnerability to climate driven extreme events in 9 different cities as part of the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (, funded by the National Science Foundation. 

For the the full interactive versions of the visualizations below, click here.

Networked Urban Ecology

Urban areas are highly heterogenous and habitat for non-human species are notoriously patchy, disconnected, and fragmented. This project focuses on how to increase connectivity of patchy, fragmented urban green space. Connect-the-Dots is one on of our networked urban ecology projects that merges urban ecology with design in partnership to innovate connections between fragmented, disconnected urban green spaces (dots). Ecological spaces in New York City, like most cities, struggle because of lack of corridors and connections between parks and smaller green spaces that can allow species and genetic material to move. Improving the mobility of urban species and building a networked ecological infrastructure will have benefits far beyond individual species, serving as a source for innovating ways to increase the quality and quantity of green space for the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers, especially in underserved areas of the city. Green spaces are fundamental to livability, equity, resilience and sustainability and corridors and green space connectivity is essential to a healthy urban ecology. Connect-the-Dots will develop ecologically based designed solutions for linking parks, street trees, green streets, green roofs and walls, and micro-urban spaces together in an ecological network to improve the lives of plant and animal species and the many benefits they provide for the city.

MillionTreesNYC Afforestation Study

The study is a multi-year ecological experiment in 10 different parks across NYC with 38 permanent afforestation plots where we have been collecting field data on soils, plants, and microbes as a long-term study of succession, soil-plant interactions, and native/invasive species dynamics over time. . The MTNYC Afforestation Study is led by the Urban Systems Lab and co-led by colleagues at Columbia University who teamed up in 2008 with NYC Parks and Recreation to study the short and long-term impacts of the MTNYC tree planting strategy on forest ecosystem structure and functioning. Additional partners include the U.S. Forest Service, Brooklyn College, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Rutgers University, Pace University, and Hofstra University, and the New York Restoration Project. The study will also examines the dynamics of newly planted urban forests in order to evaluate best management strategies for meeting long-term goals of of the MTNYC project and urban park management more generally.

Click here for more information

Future Earth Urban KAN

Future Earth is an international research platform intended to provide the knowledge and support to accelerate transformations to a sustainable world. It serves as the most important international scientific body (and largest) to coordinate new, interdisciplinary approaches to research service as a platform for international engagement to ensure that knowledge is generated in partnership with society and users of science. The USL and Timon McPhearson has provided leadership including as a member of the Core Development Team helping to launch the Urban Knowledge Action Network (UKAN) as well as the Livable Urban Futures project, and as editors and authors of the book, Urban Planet (Cambridge University Press, 2018), all projects within Future Earth. 

Click here for more information




Felix Creutzig, Steffen Lohrey, Xuemei Bai, Alexander Baklanov, Richard Dawson, Shobhakar Dhakal, William F. Lamb, Timon McPhearson, Jan Minx, Esteban Munoz, Brenna Walsh. “Upscaling urban data science for global climate solutions.” Global Sustainability, in press.

Holscher, Katharina, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, and Derk Loorbach. “Tales of transforming cities: Lessons on capacities for transformative climate governance from frontrunner cities New York City, U.S. and Rotterdam, Netherlands.” Journal of Environmental Management 231:843-857 (Click here for PDF)

Ilieva, Rositsa T. and Timon McPhearson. 2018. “Social media data for urban sustainability.” Nature Sustainability 1:553–565 DOI : 10.1038/s41893-018-0153-6 (Click here for paper PDF and supplementary info PDF)

Elmqvist, Thomas, José Siri, Erik Andersson, Pippin Anderson, Xuemei Bai, Pranab Kishore Das, Tatu Gatere, Andrew Gonzalez, Julie Goodness, Steven N. Handel, Ellika Hermansson Török,Jessica Kavonic, Jakub Kronenberg, Elisabet Lindgren, David Maddox, Raymond Maher, Cheikh Mbow, Timon McPhearson, Joe Mulligan, Guy Nordenson, Meggan Spires, Ulrika Stenkula, Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Coleen Vogel.  2018. “Urban tinkering.” Sustainability Science, (Click here for PDF)

Locke, Dexter H., and Timon McPhearson. 2018. “Urban areas do provide ecosystem services.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16:203-205, (Click here for PDF)

Andersson, Erik, and Timon McPhearson. “Making sense of biodiversity: affordances and functional ecology.” Frontiers in Psychology, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00594 (Click here for PDF)

McPhearson, Timon, Madhav Karki, Cecilia Herzog, Helen Santiago Fink, Luc Abbadie, Peleg Kremer, Christopher M. Clark, Matthew I. Palmer, Katia Perini, and Marielle Dubbeling. 2018. “Urban Ecosystems and Biodiversity”, pages 259-320, In, Rosenzweig C, Solecki W, Romero-Lankao P, Mehrotra S, Dhakal S, Ali Ibrahim S, eds. 2018. Climate Change and Cities: Second Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781316603338

Elmqvist, Thomas, Bai, Xuemei, Frantzeskaki, Niki, Griffith, Corrie, Maddox, David, McPhearson, Timon, Parnell, Sue, Romero-Lankao, Patricia, Simon, David, Watkins, Mark (eds). 2018. “Urban Planet: Knowledge toward sustainable cities.” Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107196933.  (Click for Open Access download of the full book and/or individual chapters)

Parnell, Sue, Thomas Elmqvist, Timon McPhearson, Harini Nagendra, Sverker Sörlin. 2018. “Introduction: Situating knowledge and action for an urban planet”in The Urban Planet: Knowledge towards sustainable cities, (Eds: Elmqvist, T., Bai. X., Frantzeskaki, N., Griffith, C., Maddox, D., McPhearson, T., Parnell, S., Romero-Lankao, P., Simon, D., Watkins, M.., Cambridge University Press. (Click here for PDF)

Alberti, Marina, Timon McPhearson, and Andrew Gonzalez. 2018. “Embracing urban complexity,” in The Urban Planet: Knowledge towards sustainable cities, (Eds: Elmqvist, T., Bai. X., Frantzeskaki, N., Griffith, C., Maddox, D., McPhearson, T., Parnell, S., Romero-Lankao, P., Simon, D., Watkins, M.., Cambridge University Press. (Click here for PDF)

Bai, Xuemei, Thomas Elmqvist, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, David Simon, David Maddox, Mark Watkins, Patricia Romero-Lankao, Sue Parnell, Corrie Griffith, Debra Roberts. 2018. “Synthesis: new integrated urban knowledge for the cities we want,”in The Urban Planet: Knowledge towards sustainable cities, (Eds: Elmqvist, T., Bai. X., Frantzeskaki, N., Griffith, C., Maddox, D., McPhearson, T., Parnell, S., Romero-Lankao, P., Simon, D., Watkins, M.., Cambridge University Press. (Click here for PDF)

Pereira, Laura M., Elena Bennett, Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs, Garry Peterson, Timon McPhearson, Albert Norström, Per Olsson, Rika Preiser, Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne, Joost Vervoort. 2018. “Seeds of the future found in the present,” in The Urban Planet: Knowledge towards sustainable cities, (Eds: Elmqvist, T., Bai. X., Frantzeskaki, N., Griffith, C., Maddox, D., McPhearson, T., Parnell, S., Romero-Lankao, P., Simon, D., Watkins, M.., Cambridge University Press. (Click here for PDF)

Creutzig, Felix, Steffen Lohrey, Xuemei Bai, Richard Dawson, Shobhakar Dhakal, William Lamb, Timon McPhearson, Jan Minx, Esteban Munoz, and Brenna Walsh. 2018. Upscaling urban data science for global climate solutions.” Cities IPCC Conference, Commissioned Paper, Cities IPCC Steering Committee. (click here for PDF)

Elmqvist, Thomas, Xuemei Bai, Niki Frantzeskaki, Corrie Griffith, David Maddox, TimonMcPhearson, Sue Parnell, Paty Romero-Lankao, David Simon, and Mark Watkins. 2018. “New Integrated and Actionable Urban Knowledge for the Cities We Want and Need.” The Nature of Cities.

Berbés-Blázquez, Marta, David Iwaniec, Nancy Grimm, and Timon McPhearson. “Positive Visions for Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Cities,”The Nature of Cities.

Depietri, Yaella, and Timon McPhearson. “Changing urban risk: 140 years of climatic hazards in New York City.” Climatic Change 148:95-108, (Click here for PDF). 

Donahue, Marie, Bonnie L. Keeler, Spencer A. Wood, David Fisher, Zoé A. Hamstead, and Timon McPhearson. 2018.  “Using social media to understand drivers of urban park visitation in the Twin Cities, MN.” Landscape and Urban Planning 175:1-10, (Click here for PDF)

Lodha, Ruchika, and Timon McPhearson. 2018. “Nature Atlas: Exploring Multi-scalar Methods for Mapping Urban Environments,” The Nature of Cities

McPhillips, Lauren E., Heejun Chang, Mikhail V. Chester, Yaella Depietri, Erin Friedman, Nancy B. Grimm, John S. Kominoski, Timon McPhearson, Pablo Méndez-Lázaro, Emma J. Rosi, Javad Shafiei Shiva. 2018. “Defining extreme events: a cross-disciplinary review,” Earth’s Future, doi: 10.1002/2017EF000686 (Click here for PDF)

Hara, Yuji, Timon McPhearson, Yuki Sampei, and Brian McGrath. 2018. “Assessing urban agriculture potential: A comparative study of Osaka, Japan and New York City, United States.” Sustainability Science 1-16, (Click here for PDF).

McPhearson, Timon, Dagmar Haase, Erik Andersson, and Nadja Kabisch. 2018. "Humans are components of ecosystems: a response to '100 articles every ecologist should read.'" Ecological Society of America, Ecotone

McPhearson, Timon and David Maddox. 2018. "An ecology for the Anthropocene." The Nature of Cities, Global Roundtable.

McPhearson, Timon. 2018. “What is one thing every ecologist should know about urban ecology.” The Nature of Cities,

Hamstead, Zoé, David Fisher, Rositsa Illeva, Spencer A. Wood, Timon McPhearson, and Peleg Kremer. 2018. “Geolocated social media as a rapid indicator of park visitation and equitable park access,” Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, (Click here for PDF)

Kabisch, Nadja, Dagmar Haase, Thomas Elmqvist, and Timon McPhearson. 2018. “Cities Matter: Workspaces in Ecosystem-Service Assessments with Decision-Support Tools in the Context of Urban Systems.” BioScience doi:10.1093/biosci/bix153 (Click here for PDF)


Elmqvist, Thomas and Timon McPhearson. 2017.  "Urban Earth."  RE.THINK. (Click here for link)

McPhearson, Timon. 2017. "Hurricanes: enlist nature's protection." Nature 550:43, doi:10.1038/550043c (Click here for PDF)

Ilieva, Rositsa T.  2017. Urban Food Systems Strategies: A New Tool for Implementing the SDGs in Practice? Sustainability, 9(10), 1–35. (Click here for PDF)

McPhearson, Timon and Katinka Wijsman. “Transitioning Complex Urban Systems: An Urban Ecology Approach to Urban Sustainability Transitions”. In Urban Sustainability Transitions (eds. Dirk Loorbach, Niki Frantzeskaki, et al.), Springer (Click here for PDF)

Bai, Xuemei, Timon McPhearson, Helen Cleugh, Harini Nagendra, Xin Tong, Tong Zhu, Yong-Guan Zhu. 2017. “Linking Urbanization and the Environment: Conceptual and Empirical Advances.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 42:12.1–12.26DOI: 10.1146/annurev-environ-102016-061128 (Click here for PDF)

Elmqvist, Thomas, Timon McPhearson, Erik Andersson, and Owen Gaffney. “Sustainability and resilience differ.”  2017. Nature 546:352, doi:10.1038/546352d  (Click here for PDF)

McPhearson, Timon, David Iwaniec, and Xuemei Bai. “Positives visions for guiding transformations toward desirable urban futures.”  Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (Special Issue), DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2017.04.004 (Click here for PDF)

Romero-Lankao, Patricia, Timon McPhearson, and Debra J. Davidson. 2017. “The food-energy-water nexus and urban complexity.” Nature Climate Change, 7:233-235, doi:10.1038/nclimate3260 (Click here for PDF)

Depietri, Yaella and Timon McPhearson. “Integrating the grey, green, and blue in cities: Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and risk reduction,” in Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change in Urban Areas (Nadja Kabisch et al., eds), Springer. (Click here for PDF)

Andersson, Erik, Sara Borgström, Timon McPhearson. 2017. “Double insurance in dealing with extremes – Ecological and social factors for making nature based solutions last,” in Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change in Urban Areas (Nadja Kabisch et al., eds), Springer. (Click here for PDF)

Cole, Laura, Timon McPhearson, Cecilia Herzog, and Alex Kudryavtsev.  “Urban Green Infrastructure,” in A. Kudryavtsev and M. Krasny, Eds, Urban Environmental Education Review, Cornell University Press. (Click here for PDF)


Hamstead, Zoé, Timon McPhearson, and Adam Glenn.  2016.  "Climate Resilience Means Meaningfully E􏰻ngaging Vulnera􏰹ble Communities in Urban Planning Processes."The Nature of Cities

Olander, Lydia, Gregory W. Characklis, Patrick Comer, Micah Effron, John Gunn, Tom Holmes, Robert Johnston, James Kagan, William Lehman, John Loomis, Timon McPhearson, Anne Neale, Lauren Patterson, Leslie Richardson, Martin Ross, David Saah, Samantha Sifleet, Keith Stockmann, Dean Urban, Lisa Wainger, Robert Winthrop, and David Yoskowitz. 2016. "Data and Modeling Infrastructure for National Integration of Ecosystem Services into Decision Making: Expert Summaries." National Ecosystem Services Partnership, Working Paper 16-02. (Click here for PDF)

McPhearson, Timon, Sue Parnell, David Simon, Thomas Elmqvist, Xuemei Bai, Owen Gaffney, Debra Roberts, and Aromar Revi. 2016. "Building Urban Science to Achieve the New Urban Agenda." The Nature of Cities

Johnson, Katie, Yaella Depietri, and Margaretha Breil.  2016. Multi-hazard risk assessment of two Hong Kong districts. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 19, 311–323. doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2016.08.023 (Click here for PDF)

Groffman, Peter, Mary Cadenasso, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Daniel Childers, Nancy Grimm, Morgan Grove, Sarah Hobbie, Lucy Hutyra, Darrel Jenerette, Timon McPhearson, Diane Pataki, Steward Pickett, Richard Pouyat, Emma Rosi-Marshall, and Benjamin Ruddell. 2016. “Moving toward an Urban Systems Science.” Ecosystems doi:10.1007/s10021-016-0053-4 (Click here for PDF)

McPhearson, Timon, Sue Parnell, David Simon, Owen Gaffney, Thomas Elmqvist, Xuemei Bai, Debra Roberts, Aromar Revi. 2016. “Scientists must have a say in the future of cities.” Nature, 538:165-166. (Click here for PDF)

Bennett, E.M., M. Solan, R. Biggs, T. McPhearson, A. Norstrom, P. Olsson, L. Pereira, G.D. Peterson, C. Raudsepp-Hearne, F. Biermann, S. R. Carpenter, E. Ellis, T. Hichert, V. Galaz, M. Lahsen, M. Milkoreit, B. Martin-Lopez, K. A. Nicholas, R. Preiser, G. Vince, J. Vervoort, J. Xu.  2016. “Bright Spots: Seeds of a Good Anthropocene.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14(8): 441–448, doi:10.1002/fee.1309 (Click here for PDF)

Laura Cole, Timon McPhearson, Cecilia Herzog, and Alex Russ. 2016. Accessing Urban Environmental Education Opportunities Via Green Infrastructure." The Nature of Cities

Larondelle, Neele, Dagmar Haase, Zoé A. Hamstead, Peleg Kremer und Timon McPhearson. 2016. “Eine neue Stadtstrukturklassifikation zur Analy- se der Beziehung zwischen ökologischer Funk- tion, Bebauung und Bodenbedeckungsstruktur: Eine vergleichende Studie von Berlin und New York City.” Stadtforschung Und Statistik 2:65-77. (Click here for PDF)

Gittleman, Mara, Carson Famer, Peleg Kremer, and Timon McPhearson. 2016.  “Estimating Stormwater Runoff for Community Gardens in New York City.” Urban Ecosystems, DOI 10.1007/s11252-016-0575-8 (Click here for PDF)

Frantzeskaki, Niki, Nadja Kabisch and Timon McPhearson. 2016. “Advancing urban environmental governance: Understanding theories, practices and processes shaping urban sustainability and resilience.” Environmental Science and Policy (Click here for PDF)

Kremer, Peleg, Zoé A. Hamstead, and Timon McPhearson.  2016. “The Value of Urban Ecosystem Services: A Spatially Explicit Multicriteria Analysis of Landscape Scale Valuation Scenarios in NYC.” Environmental Science and Policy (Special Issue), (Click here for PDF)

McPhearson, Timon, Dagmar Haase, Nadja Kabisch, Åsa Gren. 2016. “Advancing understanding of the complex nature of urban systems.” Ecological Indicators,  (Click here for PDF)

Kremer, Peleg, Zoé Hamstead, Dagmar Haase, Timon McPhearson, Niki Frantzeskaki, Erik Andersson, Nadja Kabisch, Neele Larondelle, Emily Lorance Rall, Gina Avlonitis, Christine Bertram, Francesc Baró, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Asa Gren, Rieke Hansen, Anna Kaczorowska, Jaan-Henrik Kain, Jakub Kronenberg, Johannes Langemeyer, Pamela Muehlmann, Stephan Pauleit, Katrin Rehdanz, Maria Schewenius, Chantal van Ham, Annette Voigt, Daniel Wurster, Thomas Elmqvist. 2016. “Key insights for the future of urban ecosystem services research.” Ecology and Society, 21(2):29 (Click here for PDF)

McPhearson, Timon, Steward T.A. Pickett, Nancy Grimm, Jari Niemelä, Marina Alberti, Thomas Elmqvist, Christiane Weber, Dagmar Haase, Jürgen Breuste, and Salman Qureshi.  2016. "Advancing Urban Ecology Toward a Science of Cities." BioScience doi:10.1093/biosci/biw002  (Click here for PDF).

McPhearson, Timon, Michael Feller, Alexander Felson, Richard Karty, Jacqueline WT Lu, Matthew I Palmer, Tim Wenskus. 2016. “Assessing the effects of the urban forest restoration effort of MillionTreesNYC on the structure and functioning of New York City ecosystems,” in Urban Forests: Ecosystem Services and Management (J. Blum, ed), Apple Academic Press.


Hamstead, Zoé A., Neele Larondelle, Peleg Kremer, Timon McPhearson, and Dagmar Haase. 2015. “Classification of the heterogeneous structure of urban landscapes (STURLA) as an indicator of landscape function applied to surface temperature in New York City.” Ecological Indicators (Special Issue), in press. Click here for PDF

McHale, Melissa R., Steward TA Pickett, Olga Barbosa, David N Bunn, Mary L Cadenasso, Daniel L Childers, Meredith Gartin, George Hess, David M Iwaniec, Timon McPhearson, M. Nils Peterson, Alexandria K. Poole, Louie Rivers III, Shade T Shutters, Weiqi Zhou. 2015. “The New Global Urban Realm: Complex, Connected, Diffuse, and Diverse Social-Ecological Systems.” Sustainability (Special Issue), 2015, 7, 5211-5240. DOI: 10.3390/su7055211. Click here for PDF

Kremer, Peleg, Erik Andersson, Timon McPhearson, and Thomas Elmqvist. 2015. “Advancing the Frontier of Urban Ecosystem Services Research.” Ecosystem Services (Special Issue) 12:149-151, Click here for PDF

McPhearson, Timon, Erik Andersson, Thomas Elmqvist, and Niki Frantzeskaki. 2015. “Resilience Of and Through Urban Ecosystem Services,“ Ecosystem Services (Special Issue) 12:152-156, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.07.012. Click here for PDF

Andersson, Erik, Timon McPhearson, Peleg Kremer, Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Dagmar Haase, Magnus Tuvendal, and Daniel Wurster. 2015. “Scale and Context Dependence of Ecosystem Service Providing Units.“ Ecosystem Services (Special Issue) 12:157-164, Click here for PDF

Andersson, E., Maria Tengö, Timon McPhearson and Peleg Kremer. 2015. “Cultural Ecosystem Services as a Platform for Working Towards Urban Sustainability.” Ecosystem Services (Special Issue) 12:165-168, DOI Click here for PDF

Hansen, Rieke, Niki Frantzeskaki, Timon McPhearson, Emily Rall, Nadja Kabisch Anna Kaczorowska, Jaan-Henrik Kain, , Martina Artmann, and Stephan Pauleit. 2015. “The uptake of the ecosystem services concept in planning discourses of European and American cities.” Ecosystem Services (Special Issue) 12: 228-246, doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.11.013. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, Timon and Victorial Marshall. 2015. “Micro_Urban: The Ecological and Social Potential of Small-Scale Urban Spaces”. The Nature of Cities, potential-of-small-scale-urban-spaces/ Also republished at


McPhearson, Timon, Zoé Hamstead, and Peleg Kremer. 2014. “Urban Ecosystem Services for Resilience Planning and Management in New York City.” AMBIO (Special Issue) 43:502–515. DOI 10.1007/s13280-014-0509-8 Click here for PDF

Larondelle, Neele, Hamstead, Zoé A., Peleg Kremer, Dagmar Haase, and Timon McPhearson. 2014. “Applying a novel urban structure classification to compare the relationships of urban structure and surface temperature in Berlin and New York City.” Applied Geography 53: 427-437. Click here for PDF

Haase, Dagmar, Neele Larondelle, Erik Andersson, Martina Artmann, Sarah Borgström, Jürgen Breuste, Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Åsa Gren, Zoé Hamstead, Rieke Hansen, Nadja Kabisch, Peleg Kremer, Johannes Langemeyer, Emily Lorance Rall, Timon McPhearson, Stephan Pauleit, Salman Qureshi, Nina Schwarz, Annette Voigt, Daniel Wurster, and Thomas Elmqvist.  2014. “A Quantitative Review of Urban Ecosystem Services Assessments: Concepts, Models, and Implementation.” AMBIO (Special Issue) 43:413–433, DOI 10.1007/s13280-014-0504-0 Click here for PDF

Schewenius, Maria, Timon McPhearson, and Thomas Elmqvist. 2014. “Opportunities for Increasing Resilience and Sustainabilityof Urban Social–Ecological Systems: Insights from the URBES and the Cities Biodiversity Outlook Projects.” AMBIO (Special Issue) 43:434-444, DOI 10.1007/s13280-014-0505-z Click here for PDF

Falxa-Raymond, Nancy, Matthew I. Palmer, Timon McPhearson, and Kevin Griffith. 2014. “Foliar Nitrogen Characteristics of Four Tree Species Planted in New York City Forest Restoration Sites.” Urban Ecosystems 1-18, Click here for PDF

McPhearson, Timon. 2014. “The Rise of Resilience: Linking Resilience and Sustainability in City Planning”. The Nature of Cities, Also republished on,, and

McPhearson, Timon. 2014. An Urban Ecology Approach to “The Future We Want”. Revolve Magazine 11:18-24. Click here for PDF

Haase, Dagmar, Timon McPhearson, Anna Kaczorowska, Niki Frantzeskaki. 2014. “Ecosystem Services in Urban Landscapes: Practical Applications and Governance Implications.” Urbanization and Global Environmental Change: Viewpoints, Spring 2014. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, Timon. 2014. “How much should we worry about exotic species in urban zones?” The Nature of Cities,

McPhearson, Timon. 2014. “Many believe that better information on the monetary value of ecosystem services is critical for getting cities to adopt more green infrastructure solutions”. The Nature of Cities,

Pickett, Steward T.A., Kenneth T. Belt, Geoffrey Bukley, Timothy Carter, Edward J.Doheny, Erle C. Ellis, Peter M. Groffman, Gordon M. Heisler, Brian P. McGrath, Timon McPhearson, Katalin Szlavecz, and Jonathan M. Walsh. 2014. BES UrbanLexicon: Concepts for the Interdisciplinary Study of Urban Ecology. Baltimore Ecosystem Study, ISBN 978-1-312-39712-5. Click here for PDF


McPhearson, Timon, Peleg Kremer, and Zoé Hamstead. 2013. “Mapping Ecosystem Services in New York City: Applying a Social-Ecological Approach in Urban Vacant Land.” Ecosystem Services 5:11-26, Click here for PDF

Kremer, Peleg, Zoé Hamstead, and Timon McPhearson. 2013.  “A Social-Ecological Assessment of Vacant Lots in New York City.” Landscape and Urban Planning 120:218-233, Click here for PDF

Crossman, Neville, Benjamin Burkhard, Stoyan Nedkov, Louise Willemen, Katalin Petz, Ignacio Palomo, Evangelia G. Drakou, Berta Martín-Lopez, Timon McPhearson, Kremena Boyanova, Rob Alkemade, Benis Egoh, Martha Dunbar, Joachim Maes. 2013. “A blueprint for mapping and modelling ecosystem services.” Ecosystem Services 44-14. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, Timon, David Maddox, Bram Gunther, and David Bragdon. 2013. “New York City Biodiversity, Green Space, and Ecosystem Services”, In, Cities and Biodiversity Outlook: Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities, (Eds: Thomas Elmqvist, Michail Fragkias, Julie Goodness, Burak Güneralp, Peter J. Marcotullio, Robert I. McDonald, Susan Parnell, Maria Schewenius, Marte Sendstad, Karen C. Seto, Cathy Wilkinson), Springer Netherlands, pp.355- 383, DOI:10.1007/978-94-007-7088-1_19 Click here for Chapter

McPhearson, Timon, Roger Auch, and Marina Alberti. 2013. “Urbanization trends, biodiversity patterns, and ecosystem services in North America,” In, Cities and Biodiversity Outlook: Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities, (Eds: Thomas Elmqvist, Michail Fragkias, Julie Goodness, Burak Güneralp, Peter J. Marcotullio, Robert I. McDonald, Susan Parnell, Maria Schewenius, Marte Sendstad, Karen C. Seto, Cathy Wilkinson), Springer Netherlands, pp.279-286, DOI:10.1007/978-94-007-7088-1_14 Click here for Chapter

Gómez-Baggethun, Erik, Åsa Gren, David N. Barton, Johannes Langemeyer, Timon McPhearson, Patrick O’Farrell, Erik Andersson, Zoé Hamstead, and Peleg Kremer. 2013. “Urban Ecosystem Services,” In, Cities and Biodiversity Outlook: Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities, (Eds: Thomas Elmqvist, Michail Fragkias, Julie Goodness, Burak Güneralp, Peter J. Marcotullio, Robert I. McDonald, Susan Parnell, Maria Schewenius, Marte Sendstad, Karen C. Seto, Cathy Wilkinson), Springer Netherlands, pp.175-251, DOI:10.1007/978-94-007-7088-1_11 Click here for Book

McPhearson, Timon and Keith G. Tidball. 2013. “Disturbances in Urban Social- Ecological Systems: Niche Opportunities for Environmental Education” In, Trading Zones in Environmental Education: Creating Transdisciplinary Dialogue, eds. Marianne Krasny and Justin Dillon. Peter Lang, New York. Click here for Chapter

McPhearson, Timon. 2013. “Getting Beyond Plant PR: Accounting for Both Services and Disservices of Urban Green Infrastructure.” The Nature of Cities 

McPhearson, Timon. 2013. “Wicked Problems, Social-ecological Systems, and the Utility of Systems Thinking.” The Nature of Cities 


McPhearson, Timon. 2012. “Cities as Highly Functional Socio-Ecological Systems: Solving the Environmental Crisis with a Tree?” Scapes 8: 30-37. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, Timon. 2012. “Vacant Land in Cities Could Provide Important Social and Ecological Benefits.” The Nature of Cities 


McPhearson, P. Timon. 2011. “Toward a Sustainable New York City: Greening Through Urban Forest Restoration.” In, The Triple Bottom Line: Sustainability Principles, Practice, and Perspective in America’s Cities (M. Slavin, editor), pp181-204, Island Press, Washington, D.C. Click here for Chapter

2010 and earlier

McPhearson, P. Timon, Mike Feller, Alex Felson, Richard Karty, Jacqueline Lu, Matthew Palmer, and Timothy Wenskus.  2010.  “Assessing the Effects of Urban Forest Restoration Effort of MillionTreesNYC on the Structure and Functioning of New York City Ecosystems.” Cities and the Environment 3(1): Article 7, 21pp. Click here for PDF

Campbell, Lindsay, Cristiana Fragola, Marianne Krasny, Gina Lovasi, Jacqueline W.T. Lu, David Maddox, Simon McDonnell, P. Timon McPhearson, Franco Montalto, Andrew Newman, Ellen Pehek, Ruth A. Rae, Megan Shane, Richard Stedman, Erika Svendsen, Keith G. Tidball, Lynne Westphal, and Tom Whitlow (authors listed alphabetically). 2010. "MillionTreesNYC, Green Infrastructure, and Urban Ecology: Building a Research Agenda", MillionTreesNYC Advisory Board Research & Evaluation Subcommittee, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, New York City, NY. Click here for PDF

Horning, Ned, P. Timon McPhearson, and Osman C. Wallace. 2009. "An Introduction to Remote Sensing." Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, American Museum of Natural History, New York. Click here for link to request PDF

McPhearson, P. Timon, Stuart P.D. Gill, Robert Pollack, and Julia E. Sable. 2008. “Increasing Scientific Literacy in Undergraduate Education: A Case Study from ‘Frontiers of Science’ at Columbia University.” In, A Vision of Transdisciplinarity: Laying Foundations for a World Knowledge Dialogue (Eds. Frédéric Darbellay, Moira Cockell,Jérôme Billotte, and Francis Waldvogel), EPFL Press, Switzerland. Click here for Chapter

Johnson, Elizabeth A. and P. Timon McPhearson. 2007. "Protecting Nature in Your Community." Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, P. Timon and Osman C. Wallace. 2007. "Application of Remote Sensing to Biodiversity Conservation." Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, American Museum of Natural History, New York. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, P. Timon. 2006. Contributing author to Legacy: Conserving New York State’s Biodiversity (eds Johnson, E.A., and D. Smith). American Museum of Natural History, New York State Biodiversity Research Institute, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Natural Heritage Program, and The Nature Conservancy, Albany, New York. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, P. Timon. 2004. "The Complexity of Cooperation in Ecological Communities." Ph.D. Dissertation. Rutgers University. New Brunswick, NJ. Click here for PDF

McPhearson, P. Timon and Peter J. Morin. 2003. Review of “The importance of species: Perspectives on expendability and triage,” P. Karieva and S.A. Levin (ads). Integrative and Comparative Biology 43:603. Click here for PDF

Petchey, Owen L., Tim Casey, Lin Jiang, P. Timon McPhearson and Jennifer Price.  2002.  “Species richness, environmental fluctuations, and temporal change in total community biomass.” Oikos 99: 231-240. Click here for PDF

Petchey, Owen L., P. Timon McPhearson, Tim M. Casey, and Peter J. Morin.  1999.  “Environmental warming alters food-web structure and ecosystem function.” Nature 420:69-72. Click here for PDF